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Mungo Park's account of his journeys into West Africa in 1795 and again in 1805 provided Europeans with their first reliable description of the interior of the continent. Though he failed in the object of his mission - to chart the course of the Niger River - he succeeded in leaving a unique record of everyday life before the exploitation of Africa by Europeans, as valuable today as it was then. His first-hand experiences of tribal justice, gold mining and the slave trade are recorded, as well as his own understated heroism ...

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